Self-Image And Self-Confidence, As Factors Facilitators Of Communication To Small Schoolchildren


If self-esteem is the emotional reaction of the individual perception of their own image, self-image is the way in which a person perceives its own characteristics physical, cognitive, emotional social and spiritual, it is the result of self-assessment and evaluation from those around and how it is reflected in the eyes of others. Self-esteem can be positive and negative, having an important role in the involvement of the pupil in difficult tasks, in making responsible decisions, the ability to resist in the face of pressure group, in creating the psychological state of well, in maintaining a good health and mental strength to the factors of stress. The adequate language development provides a more shaded verbal communication, increasing the chances of higher quality social interactions. Children can initiate discussions about emotions, which facilitates the understanding and recognition of their own emotions and those of others, may require explanations and clarifications from adults, can establish the relationship between cause and effect of events - emotional reactions - behavior.

Keywords: Self-esteemself-imagebehaviorreaction affective


Self-image or Ego, represents the way how a person perceives their own physical, cognitive,

emotional, social and spiritual characteristics. In plain language, self-image is the view we have about

ourselves, about "who we are" and "what can we do", it is the foundation on which self-esteem is formed.

A positive self-image becomes an inner strength that allows the individual to enjoy his personal chance,

despite all the obstacles, bringing him the satisfaction and complacency.

As the child gets older and experiences different and increasingly complex life situations, he

begins to develop the so-called self-knowledge , a process that lasts throughout life, which consists in

shaping, structuring and then enriching the self-image.

Self-Image – The Mental Representation of Oneself

Self-image - Concept

Self-image is a mental representation of oneself, including knowledge about himself (emotions,

knowledge, values, skills, behavior etc.), which helps the individual to adjust their behavior in society.

However, self-image does not always reflect reality. Self-image is a structure, in which, we can

differentiate several components:

1. Current ego , referring to what the individual believes he is in a certain moment of his


2. Ideal ego , that reflects what the individual would like to be;

3. Future ego , expressing what the individual can become in the future.

The main negative ways of self-image manifesting are:

1. avoidance - a student with a negative self image can adopt attitudes like shyness, avoidance

of confrontation with people or problematic situations;

2. defensive aggression - a student with a negative self image compensates by attacking the

source of frustration, mocking his colleagues who perform better than him;

3. compensation - a student who is unsuccessful in some subjects tries to minimize their

importance and to succeed in others, to which he gives more importance;

4. resistance - some students try keeping their self-image as created and manifest resistance to

change, even if it is for their benefit;

5. low motivation - a student with a negative self image, will show a lack of self-confidence,

will be less motivated to initiate or engage in various activities, because he will not feel able

to complete them successfully.

If self-esteem is the result of the auto evaluation and the evaluation of those around and how he

is reflected in the eyes of others, self-esteem represents the individual's emotional reaction to the

perception of their image.

The Self-Esteem – The Evaluative Dimension of Self-Image

The Self-Esteem - Concept

Self-esteem represents the evaluative dimension of self-image and relates to how we evaluate

ourselves in relation to our own expectations and of others (eg, better or less good). The value of a human

being does not derive from the performance achieved in a certain area, but from the set of all behaviors,

actions and potentialities from the past, present and future, on all levels of life.

Self-esteem is an affective component of the cognitive scheme, referring to the own person

(Stănculescu, 2008, p.308), it can be positive or negative, fulfilling an important role in the engaging of

the person in demanding tasks, in responsible decision making, in building the capacity to resist to the

pressure of a group, in creating a psychological condition of well being, in maintaining good mental

health and resistance to stress.

High self-esteem reflects the recognition of the value of the human being, autoapreciation and self-


The main role in self-esteem development of the child is represented by the evaluative feedbacks

of the parents (in the preschool period) and teachers, colleagues or friends, the appreciations or criticisms

being taken and internalized by the child, leading ultimately to the development of a high or low self-

esteem. Young children begin to evaluate their self-image, based on the opinions and reactions of their

parents and their teachers. In this respect, boosting self-esteem is based on highlighting the qualities of

the child, clearly outlining the level of expectations for him, encouragement, praise, anticipating the needs

and avoiding the perfectionism. Some investigations had revealed that students with high levels of self-

esteem have favorable attitudes toward school, a high popularity, high school performance, social skills

and are optimistic (Stănculescu, 2008, p.309).

Establishing quality interpersonal relationships, based on effective communication, requires a

special "opening" of the individual to the people in his entourage, assuming thereby, both developing the

capacity to disclose their feelings, motives and opinions to those around, and a certain responsiveness to

their feedback.

All this require confidence. The more a person increases their self-confidence, the more that

person is willing to assume the risks associated with exposing to the opinions and reactions of others.

Developing skills in communication and establishing quality interpersonal relationships,

increasing the autonomy of pupils achieving individual and group higher performances, overcoming

communication barriers, need self-confidence.

Moderate confidence, based on self-knowledge, on recognition of both their qualities and limits is

necessary, to accept the risks involved in open and sincere human relations (Rime, 2008, pp.135-139). It

is well known that the overvaluation and undervaluation of the personal potential will lead to failure.

The Emotional and Physical Abuse – the Biggest Obstacles in The Formation of Self-Esteem At Children

The biggest obstacles in the formation of self-esteem at children, are emotional and physical

abuse, preventing them becoming a core objective in psychological counseling of children and their

families. Emotional abuse prevention focuses on the following aspects:

• active listening of the child;

• perception of the child as a valuable and special person;

• providing support in accountability and personal decisions;

• avoiding labeling, criticism and judgement of the child behaviors;

• developing the student self-esteem and the sense of competence;

• learn ways to cope with stress.

Increasing Confidence

Increasing confidence in children is a cyclical process, which involves:

recognition of anxiety – it is a negative emotion that occurs when a person is uncertain in

terms of their ability to avoid physical or psychological pain felt after a failure, anxiety

manifests by permanent concern, irritability, headaches, lack energy, strength and

concentration, reduced ability to respond during tense situations, the individual perceiving

themselves as being incapable of coping with a situation. A first step in reducing anxiety is

identifying the defense mechanisms (avoiding or reducing anxiety methods, without coping

with the situation that determines it). Defensive behaviors such as avoidance, repression,

projection of the source of discontent on other people, regression (approaching significantly

easier tasks), rationalization, finding excuses, explanations, reduce anxiety and become

through repetition strong habits, resistant to change.

�the changing process and compensatory behaviors – through which the use of anxiogenic

behaviors is limited. In this situation, the child resorts to some compensatory behaviors that

are used temporarily until the tension is reduced.

Some of the most common compensatory behaviors are: oral behaviors (excessive eating, eating

sweets), excessive sleep, withdrawal into fantasy, discussing problems with an empathetic person, and at

older ages, the use of exercise, the last two behaviors being linked to the self-confidence increasing. The

teacher is the one who must accept that students will make mistakes, but only by facing and overcoming

difficulties, they will increase their self-confidence.

The knowledge of the educator about the psychophysical and personality characteristics of the

child, the social, family and cultural environment in which he lives, needs and requirements of his

education, is very important as it allows correct understanding of the meaning of the message

communicated by the child, anticipation of the impact it could have on him, as well as the behavioral

reactions determined by it.

The lack of effective communication in the classroom is often a source of conflict and in such

situations, the only way to resolve the conflict is cooperation, which allows each party to find out the

position and arguments of the other parties, negotiating in order to find the most acceptable solution.

Deciphering the reactions of children in time, allows the educator to regulate the conduct of the

communication in time, the entire educational activity becoming a success.

In order to improve the school type of interaction, the teacher can take a number of concrete

actions , such as (Ezechil, 2002, p. 54):

•know how to relate to and produce an active interlocutor; •ensure continuously over the use of the same code by partners in the communication process; •take into account the children’s psycho-physiological and affective-emotional state at the time of

communication (rested-tired, relaxed-rushed, preoccupied-disinterested etc.), searching for

possible harmonization of them; identifying of the emotional level and the affective states through

which the child finds himself at the moment of the communication and reception of the message is

important, as they can become a distraction from the communication process;

•giving freedom to the party to issue a response in his pace; •launch and read messages through multiple channels; •minimize the effect of internal and external noise sources, whenever possible.

Message Transmitting

Referring to message transmitting during educational activities, Elena Stănculescu gives some

recommendations (stressing the importance of the nonverbal and paraverbal during the lesson), designed

to improve the communication during educational activities (Stănculescu, 2008, p. 213), of which we can


• transmitted information must be clear, accurate, precise (providing further explanation to students is

recommended, to remove the ambiguities); the message sent must be issued correctly from the

beginning, because once submitted and perceived, it is irreversible; accuracy involves using a rich

vocabulary to express the desired directions and to be able to fully exploit the communicated


•the communication must have expressiveness - adequacy of the used expressions with an affective and emotional tone on the message;

•avoiding the exposure of a frozen physiognomy by the teacher and adopting a positive, open communication that takes on extra expressiveness;

•avoiding the excessive use of neologisms in oral expression, because they hinder the understanding of the significance of the messages;

•adequacy of the verbal messages to the nonverbal ways of communication; correct recepting and decoding of nonverbal messages issued simultaneously and interchangeably with what is spoken;

•avoiding the use of an excessive gesticulation, not to draw students' attention on it, to the detriment of the verbally sent message;

•use of paraverbal elements to emphasize certain meanings and avoid monotony; •active language enrichment by developing a positive attitude towards reading; •taking into account that during the first part of schooling (and in preschool), the internal language is

not very well developed, which can affect the child's ability to coordinate, condensate and predict

oral and written language;

•the oral expression of the students requires an adequate stimulation, using persuasive ways, argumentation techniques etc.

Interpersonal factors group the influences that come from the family environment and educational

environment . The concordance of the messages from these two environments as well as the quality of

their educational influences are very important in children education.

Family may exercise a series of attitudes proved to be both un-efficient and harmful to the optimal

development of the children.

In our view, as with parents, the teachers' attitude towards discipline and consistency of applying

rewards and punishments are extremely important. When the teacher does not explain the rules to

children and does not consistently apply the established consequences of breaking the rules, he favors the

lack of sense of control, thus preventing the autonomy development at students. The teacher becomes

both a model and a coach to developing the emotional and social skills of children. The use of a language

that draws children's attention on emotions, highlighting various emotional reactions in the context of

ordinary interactions, lowers the risk for the students of having difficulties in understanding emotions, as

well as the consequences of their behavior.

The development of socio-emotional skills is the result of environmental influences of where the

child was born and lives, as well as from the familial and educational environments, acting on the genetic

component with which it is born.

Acquiring social and emotional skills depends on the optimal interaction of all these factors, which

may represent a source of protection, which ensures the child’s effective adaptation to the environmental


Intrapersonal social skills are closely related to emotional skills, and acquiring emotional

regulation strategies favors the capacity to exercise control over their behavior, being essential for

establishing and maintaining relationships with others and the main risk factors in the development of

emotional and social skills in children were grouped in intrapersonal and interpersonal factors (Catrinel,

Kallay, 2010, p. 38).

Faulty interaction of these factors can contribute to the deficient development of the socio-

emotional skills, that can become in turn the source of serious mental and emotional disorders.

Also, in the activity with children, in the preschool group and in classroom, teacher's empathy can

be seen both as a quality, a skill and as an act of will, which is sometimes difficult to implement.

Empathy involves the teacher's determination, but also the development of self-control capabilities of

their own socio-affective reactions, this way expressing their availability to the child, entering their inner

worlds, to try to understand them from their position, so he can see the situations with their eyes.

The most important skill in developing the empathic understanding is the reflection of feelings,

and emotion is an important part of the relationship, even if it is not always conscious.

Feelings may be expressed both verbally and nonverbally and must be seen, valued, named, and

after paraphrasing technique has to be used, to clarify any ambiguities.

Empathy is defined by two components (Abric, 2002, p. 53):

- responsiveness to the feelings experienced by the other;

- verbal ability to communicate this understanding.

Therefore, the teacher’s emphaty to his student has to be an active one and has to be sent to him.

Empathy that is not expressed is an internal attitude, maintained in a latent state with no effect on the

communication act.

Acting as a "transmitter" in the communication process, the teacher receives the task to correlate

the activity of designing and transmitting the informational message, with possibilities of capitalization

on children's personalities and their individual creative potential, thus adding a touch of originality to the

educational act.

Achieving a maximum of efficiency in the educational communication act involves unlocking the

cognitive and communicational potential of all the involved partners. Besides a good theoretical

foundation of the informational message (corresponding to well-defined goals and objectives), to

correctly transmit and receive it, it is recommended to use an appropriate paralanguage and sign

language, with supportive role on the verbal message.


Practicing this capacity implies the existence of a positive climate, free of threats or challenges

(most often adressing to the child’s self-image), dominated by open interpersonal relationships, by

cooperation (in which children adopt a dynamic, assertive style of communication), well being, initiative,

curiosity, desire to participate in group activities.

Conversations about emotions worn by children at home or at school, allows them to require adult

explanations, clarifications and thus easing the identification of the cause-effect relationship between

events and emotions, behaviours, and learning strategies for emotional regulation, such as discussing

emotional events, anticipating possible situations and emotional reactions, ways of resolving conflicts and

problematic situations. Therefore, we believe that the implementation of a psycho-pedagogical

intervention program - based on creating an educational environment favorable to total communication,

the use of didactic and therapeutic games allowing the expression of feelings and emotional states - is

necessary in the educational activities that take place with young schoolchildren, so that their informative

side is supported by a relational positive side, thereby enhancing their therapeutical and formative



  1. Abric J.-C. (2002). Psihologia Comunicării, Editura Polirom, Iaşi.
  2. Catrinel S., Kallay E. (2010), ”Emotional and social skills development in preschoolers, practical guide for educators”, Ed ASCR, Cluj.
  3. Ezechil L. (2002). Educational communication in school context. Ed.Didactică și Pedagogică, Bucharest.
  4. Rime, B. (2008). Social communication of emotions, Ed. Trei, Bucuresti.
  5. Stănculescu E. (2008). Educational Psychology, from theory to practice. University Publishing House, Bucharest.

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